• Krzysztof Niemczyk , Untitled (Portrait), 1970

An example of Niemczyk’s painting, Untitled (Portrait), is an expressive image of a woman’s head” demonstrating a condition of someone experiencing metaphysical angst. The jarring combinations of uniplanar patches of color bring to mind the obsessive, fantastic visions of Witkacy accomplished in his famous Portrait Painting Firm.

Niemczyk was known for his eccentric behavior and provocative performances in public places. He swam naked in a fountain outside the Mariacki Church in front of crowds of people; he organized shoplifting actions in grocery stores (he called these happenings “ciubara”). He walked through the town dressed up and wearing make-up, or went to a restaurant with a group of hippies holding a sheet of paper saying „Waiter, today you will give us a tip." This spontaneously executed program called “revolution of everyday life” was very close to the idea of a union between life and art propagated by artist in the late 1960s. Niemczyk radicalized artist activity and his un-controllable lifestyle violated any moral, social and sexual standards. As a result, he was arrested or put into mental institutions on a number of occasions, which helps the contemporary audience understand better the limitations the artistic postulates encountered when clashing with the brutal reality of PRL. His fate also shows us that, somewhere on the outskirts of art there are people and attitudes which cannot be contained in an institutionalized artistic life and explains the mechanisms which allow it to enter the sphere of art. Niemczyk’s art and his tendency to cross-dress as the other sex or his favorite characters (e.g. the Italian actress, Padovani) make him also a pioneer of the transsexual and queer thoughts.

Year: 1970/1980
Medium: oil on canvas
Format: 150×100 cm

Acquisition: purchase
Ownership form: collection
Source: Danuta Niemczyk-Piątkowska
Index: MSN: 4300-21/2012
Acquisition date:
Financing source: Purchased with the support of Ministry of Culture and National Heritage